I just read at the Indystar.com that State Sen. Allen Paul, a Richmond, IN Republican, who in a State-wide, Nation-wide and World-wide economic Depression, apparently has nothing better to do but propose the Sugar Cream pie as the Official State Pie.
Now normally I meet these official state things with rolled eyes. I mean, most states have the same thing, but due to some story or folk-lore or product of imagination, BAM they are now "officially" ours (or theirs). As inane as these things are, The Sugar Cream pie is something I can agree with. Or as Ruth Holladay said today in her blog (wonderfully paraphrasing Joseph Heller) "Give me pie ... give EVERYBODY pie!"
The Sugar Cream pie is distinctly unique to Indiana, as Hoosier as Dave Letterman or a pork tenderloin samich. It was created in the cold mid-nineteenth century Hoosier winters, where all the fresh materials such as berries were used up. Something sweet and filling was needed, so out of the pioneer kitchen came the "Sugar Pie". It seems up for grabs in which community it originated but according to The History of Sugar Cream Pie, it was either the Amish, Shakers or the Quakers all of whom were abundant in Indiana at the time.
The pie is deceptively simple. Just whatever renderings were left in the winter stores and cupboards. At it's most basic, it's simply a pie shell spread with layers of heavy creamed butter and maple or brown sugar with a sprinkling of flour, then filled with vanilla-flavored cream and baked and if you had a nutmeg left, shave a bit on top.
My favorite Sugar Cream pie was my Granny Brown's. Goodness gracious, that woman could cook!! She once won a National baking contest which sent her to Washington, DC where she met President Calvin Coolidge. After she died, my favorite became the one's made by Wick's Pies. Wick's is believed to be the world's largest producer of the pies and are located just 25 miles north of Richmond. (Ah-ha! Well-played Senator Paul!!)
When I was in Spokane, WA for 5 months doing work setting up an equestrian magazine for a large pet magazine group (and running away after a nasty and devastating divorce) my parents sent a giant frozen Wick's Sugar Cream pie to me. I had never been so homesick in my life! It was actually the catalyst that knocked me to my senses and told me it was time to come back. I turned in my resignation and a couple of weeks later, packed up my truck and drove across country, "Back Home Again in Indiana" where I longed to be "On the Banks of the Wabash, Far Away".
So yes, eating an entire sugar cream pie could put you into a type 2, diabetic coma and I won't even go into the rate of obesity in Indiana, but good on you, Sen. Paul. It seems you and President Obama have something in common, you both like pie!
I'm off to the frozen desserts section of Marsh ... later!
Photo by: Flickr user axlotl under a Creative Commons license.